IMO assists Indonesia in accession to Cape Town fishing vessel safety agreement

Fishing boat
Fishing boat at an undisclosed location (representative photo only)Pixabay.com

Indonesia is being supported by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO on the steps needed to accede to the key fishing vessel safety treaty: the 2012 Cape Town Agreement (CTA). A national consultation visit was recently held in Bali, at the request of the country's government, to provide expert legal and technical assistance to support the state's accession process and ensure effective compliance and implementation.

Indonesia is the world's largest archipelagic state, with over 17,500 islands, and with 40 per cent of its population relying on fisheries for their livelihood. The IMO said this highlights the importance of the Cape Town Agreement – which will set minimum standards for fishing vessel safety – for protecting fishing vessel personnel in the country's fishing fleet, and onboard foreign fishing vessels where their nationals may be employed or calling at their ports.

The consultation visit was organised by IMO, the Ministry of Transportation of Indonesia, and the Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries of Indonesia, with the support of The Pew Charitable Trusts, S&P Global, and the Indonesia Tuna Longline Association. The visit also included the conducting of a gap analysis of existing legislation and safety requirements and developing an outline of capacity-building needs. The benefits of the Cape Town Agreement were explained in detail to both public and private stakeholders in Indonesia's fishing sector.

Indonesia has already begun the accession process through a Presidential Decree. Once this is completed, Indonesia plans to host a regional workshop, in collaboration with the IMO, to share its experiences and guide other countries in the Asia-Pacific region that may be considering accession to the Cape Town Agreement, which would be expected to have its entry into force criteria fulfilled.

Once in force, the Cape Town Agreement will ensure global regulation of safety standards for large industrial fishing vessels across the world, and those working on board. In October 2023, the number of parties to the CTA reached 22, thus fulfilling one of the two required criteria for the entry into force of the agreement.

The second condition – that the states that are parties to the treaty must have an aggregate of at least 3,600 fishing vessels of 24 metres and over authorised to operate on the high seas – is yet to be met. The agreement will enter into force 12 months after the date on which both requirements have been satisfied.

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